Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

3 John 1:5

Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hospitality;   Zeal, Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Missionary Work by Ministers;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gaius;   Gifts of the spirit;   Hospitality;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Diotrephes;   Gaius;   John the Apostle;   John, the Epistles of;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Love;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Brotherly Love;   Diotrephes;   Excommunication;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 31 To Do, Work, Labour;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - John the Baptist;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou doest faithfully - Πιστον ποιεις . Kypke thinks that πιστον is put here for πιστιν, and that the phrase signifies to keep or preserve the faith, or to be bound by the faith, or to keep one's engagements. Thou hast acted as the faith - the Christian religion, required thee to act, in all that thou hast done, both to the brethren at home, and to the strangers - the itinerant evangelists, who, in the course of their travels, have called at thy house. There is not a word here about the pilgrims and penitential journeys which the papists contrive to bring out of this text.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/3-john-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Beloved, thou doest faithfully - In the previous verses the writer had commended Gaius for his attachment to truth, and his general correctness in his Christian life. He now speaks more particularly of his acts of generous hospitality, and says that he had fully, in that respect, done his duty as a Christian.

Whatsoever thou doest - In all your contact with them, and in all your conduct toward them. The particular thing which led to this remark was his hospitality; but the testimony respecting his general conduct had been such as to justify this commendation.

To the brethren - Probably to Christians who were well known to him - perhaps referring to Christians in his own church.

And to strangers - Such as had gone to the church of which he was a member with a letter of commendation from John. Compare the Romans 12:13 note, and Hebrews 13:2 note.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/3-john-1.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Beloved, thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest toward them that are brethren and strangers withal;

Beloved ... Note the transition to the section praising Gaius for his hospitality.

Thou doest ... doest ... "The second of these verbs is different from the first in the Greek, and implies more of toilful labor."[17] What is in view here is the marvelous hospitality of Gaius extended to traveling brethren who were spreading the gospel; and the words "strangers withal" show that he did not merely entertain those with whom he was personally acquainted. There were good solid reasons why traveling preachers of that day depended upon faithful brethren such as Gaius for their maintenance. The scarcity of inns, the disreputable character of such inns as were available, and the general poverty of many Christians contributed to this necessity.

ENDNOTE:

[17] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 1062.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/3-john-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Beloved, thou doest faithfully,.... Or a faithful thing, and as became a faithful man, a believer in Christ; in all his beneficence and charity he acted the upright part; he did not do it in an hypocritical way, to be seen of men, and gain applause from them, but from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God:

whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which may design either different persons; and by "brethren" may be meant the poor brethren of the church that. Gaius belonged to, and others that were well known to him; and by "the strangers", not unconverted persons, but such of the saints as came from foreign parts, and travelled about to spread the Gospel, and enlarge the interest of Christ: or else the same persons may be intended, for the words may be read, as they are in the Alexandrian copy, and some others, and in the Vulgate Latin version, "what thou doest to the brethren, and this to strangers"; that is, as the Arabic version renders it, "to strange brethren"; or, as the Syriac version, "to the brethren, and especially them that are strangers"; so that Gaius was a very hospitable man, one that entertained and lodged strangers, and used them very civilly and courteously, with great liberality, and with much integrity and sincerity.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/3-john-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Beloved, thou doest b faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

(b) As becomes a believer and a Christian.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/3-john-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

faithfully — an act becoming a faithful man.

whatsoever thou doest — a distinct Greek word from the former “doest”: translate, “workest”: whatsoever work, or labor of love, thou dost perform. So Matthew 26:10, “She hath wrought a good work upon me.”

and to strangers — The oldest manuscripts, “and that (that is, and those brethren) strangers.” The fact of the brethren whom thou didst entertain being “strangers,” enhances the love manifested in the act.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/3-john-1.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

A faithful work (πιστονpiston). Either thus or “thou makest sure,” after an example in Xenophon quoted by Wettstein (ποιειν πισταpoiein pista) and parallel to καινα ποιεωkaina poieō in Revelation 21:5. But it is not certain.

In whatsoever thou doest (ο εαν εργασηιho ean ergasēi). Indefinite relative with modal εανean (= ανan) and the first aorist middle subjunctive of εργαζομαιergazomai See Colossians 3:23 for both ποιεωpoieō and εργαζομαιergazomai in the same sentence.

And strangers withal (και τουτο χενουςkai touto xenous). “And that too” (accusative of general reference as in 1 Corinthians 6:6; Philemon 1:28; Ephesians 2:8). This praise of hospitality (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 5:10; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2) shows that in 2 John 1:10 John has a peculiar case in mind.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/3-john-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Thou doest faithfully ( πιστὸν ποιεῖς )

Rev., thou doest a faithful work. A third interpretation is thou givest a pledge or guaranty, and a fourth, akin to this, thou makest sure. The Rev. is best. There is no parallel to justify the third and fourth.

Thou doest ( ἐργάσῃ )

Or lit., according to the eymology, workest ( ἔργον work). See on James 2:9. The distinction between this verb and others signifying to do, such as ποιεῖν , πράσσειν , δρᾶν , which last does not occur in the New Testament, is not sharply maintained in Attic Greek. In certain connections the difference between them is great, in others, it is hardly perceptible. On ποιεῖν and πρα.σσειν , see on John 3:21. Ἐργάζομαι , like πράσσειν , contemplates the process rather than the end of action, carrying the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means to labor, to be active, to perform, with the idea of continued exertion, and therefore is used of servants, or of those who have an assigned business or office. See Matthew 21:28; Matthew 25:26; Luke 13:14; John 5:17; John 6:27; John 9:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:9. For the phrase ἐργάσῃ εἰς thoudoest toward (Rev.), see Matthew 26:10.

And to strangers ( καὶ εἰς τοὺς ξένους )

The best texts read, instead of εἰς τοὺς tothe (strangers), τοῦτο , that; so that the sentence is, literally, “to them that are brethren, and that strangers.” For the phrase and that, compare 1 Corinthians 6:6; Philemon 1:28; Ephesians 2:8.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/3-john-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

Faithfully — Uprightly and sincerely.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/3-john-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

Ver. 5. Thou dost faithfully] That is, out of faith, and as beseemeth a faithful Christian. They that give alms, &c., and not out of faith, they do worse than lose their labour, for they commit sin.

And to strangers] Though they be not yet converted to the faith, and made brethren, thy liberality may work upon them, and win them, as Alban.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/3-john-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

3 John 1:5. Thou doest faithfully "As becomes a faithful Christian." The Papists have contrived, by various falsifications, to make the scriptures speak the language of their church. We have given a remarkable instance on James 5:11. Here we have another; for "St. John," say they, "praises Gaius, for having dealt faithfully with pilgrims." See "Popery an Enemy to Scripture," by Mr. Serces, and the Preface to Dr. Middleton's Letter from Rome, p. 66, &c.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/3-john-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, How our apostle at once commends the great charity of Gaius, and at the same time excites him to the farther practice of it.

Where note, 1. How charity towards Christians is here styled fidelity to Christ, because shown to them upon Christ's account: Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren. Acts of charity are acts of righteousness and fidelity? he that is uncharitable is unjust.

Note, 2. The extensive nature of Gaius's charity; it was to brethren but to strangers; that is, not only to the brethren of the church with him, but to strangers in their travels to and fro, as they came near him; but more particularly to such faithful ministers as came out of foreign parts to preach the gospel, whom Gaius had hospitably and charitably entertained.

Note, 3. How he exhorts Gaius farther to furnish and help these ministers in their travels with all things necessary for their journey; because,

1. They preached the gospel freely, taking nothing of the Gentile Christians for their pains.

2. Because it was for Christ's name sake they went abroad: to preach the gospel, say some; to avoid persecution, say others.

3. Because to entertain such, is to further, as much as in us lies, the propagation of the gospel of Christ: such as contribute towards the maintenance and support of the ministers of Christ for his sake, shall have the present comfort and future reward of co-operating and contributing their parts towards the propagating and spreading of the gospel of Christ.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/3-john-1.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

3 John 1:5. πιστ ν ποιε ς, thou doest faithfully) thou doest something, which I readily promised myself and the brethren from you. Thus whatever harmonises.— ἐργάσ, thou shalt do) in the labour of love.— κα) and, that which is of the greatest consequence, to strangers in particular.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/3-john-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Charity to Christians is reckoned fidelity to Christ, being shown to them upon the Christian account, which is intimated to have been done by this pious person, who so kindly treated

the brethren, and strangers, i.e. even though they were strangers.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/3-john-1.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

ты как верный поступаешь Искренняя вера всегда производит истинные, добрые дела (Иак. 2:14-17).

для братьев и для странников Гаий оказывал гостеприимство не только тем, кого он знал, но также и незнакомым людям. Имеются в виду странствующие проповедники Евангелия, которым Гаий помогал в их путешествиях.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/3-john-1.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The brethren; Christians who were in want.

Strangers; those who were driven from home by persecution, or who had left it in the service of Christ.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/3-john-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John loved Gaius as Gaius loved the brethren to whom he had extended hospitality.

"The early Christian community"s deep interest in hospitality is inherited from both its Jewish roots and the Greco-Roman culture of its day." [Note: Barbara Leonhard, "Hospitality in Third John," The Bible Today25:1 (January1987):11.]

John"s affection for Gaius is obvious in his repeated use of the word "beloved" (cf. 3 John 1:2). Gaius acted faithfully in the sense that his behavior was consistent with God"s truth (cf. 2 John 1:1-2).

It is possible that Gaius had shown love "for the brethren and for strangers" as some Greek texts read. On the other hand, perhaps the NASB translation is correct: he showed love to the brethren and even to those brethren who were strangers to him. Probably Gaius had demonstrated love to all these varieties of people (cf. Hebrews 13:2).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/3-john-1.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

faithfully = as a faithful (deed). App-150.

doest = workest.

to. App-104.

to. The texts read "that to". The brethren referred to were strangers. Compare Hebrews 13:2.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/3-john-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Faithfully - an act becoming a faithful man.

Whatsoever thou doest, [ ergazee (Greek #2038)] - distinct from the former [ poieis (Greek #4160)] "doest." Translate, 'workest:' whatsoever work of love thou dust perform. So Matthew 26:10.

And to strangers. A 'Aleph (') B C have [ touto (Greek #5124) for eis (Greek #1519) tous (Greek #3588)], 'and that (i:e., and those brethren) strangers.' The fact of the brethren whom thou didst entertain being "strangers" enhances the love manifested in the act. This favours Gaius of Corinth (Romans 16:23) being the Gaius of this letter.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/3-john-1.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
Matthew 24:45; Luke 12:42; 16:10-12; 2 Corinthians 4:1-3; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:10,11
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 12:15 - for they dealt;  2 Kings 22:7 - they dealt faithfully;  2 Chronicles 31:20 - wrought;  Matthew 10:41 - that receiveth a prophet;  Matthew 25:16 - went;  Matthew 25:35 - I was a;  Luke 10:7 - for;  Acts 16:15 - If;  Romans 16:2 - ye receive;  Galatians 6:10 - especially;  Philippians 4:14 - ye have

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/3-john-1.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Doest faithfully denotes that whatever Gaius did he was in earnest about it; not half-hearted. He did his good deeds for others "heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" ( Colossians 3:23). To brethren and to strangers is in keeping with Galatians 6:10. Paul there says for disciples to "do good unto all men, exspcially to them who are of the household of faith."

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/3-john-1.html. 1952.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.Faithfully—A faithful thing; a thing inspired by a true faith.

Brethren’ strangers—In apposition, as both meaning the same persons. The brethren were evangelists of John, but strangers to Gaius. He entertained them, not as old acquaintances, nor from pure hospitality in general; but because they were Christian itinerants authenticated by the apostle.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/3-john-1.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

3 John 1:5. The adjective is either act., “believing” (cf.John 20:27), or passive, “worthy to be believed,” “trustworthy” (cf.2 Timothy 2:2). It is passive here, and it is well explained by Œcumenius as equivalent to . The peculiarity is that, by a sort of hypallage, the adjective is transferred from the subjective to the objective. Transitive: “Thou makest whatever thou workest on the brethren a believing act, a work of faith”. It was not mere hospitality but a religious service. Westcott’s rendering: “thou makest sure whatsoever thou doest” gives an unexampled and indeed impossible meaning. , aor. of habitual and constant hospitality; , aor. of each particular act. , “and that to”; more commonly (cf.Hebrews 9:12).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/3-john-1.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

5. You are so faithful. “The hospitality you show to the brothers is especially important! This is evidence of your faith!” John trained evangelists (see note onEphesians 4:11)and sent them out. They would depend upon the local churches for food and lodging. See Introduction to this Letter. Strangers. Gaius did not know many of these brothers personally. They were strangers to him, yet he showed his love for truth by his hospitality to them. [But contrast 2 John 1:10-11.]

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 3 John 1:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/3-john-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.